And Navajo land defender Katherine Smith has died in Big Mountain, Arizona. While records say she was 98 years old, her family members say she was over 100. Smith spent decades defending Navajo land against intrusions by coal and uranium miners. She resisted resettlement after Congress passed the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act, which forced an estimated 6,000 Navajo and 100 Hopi to relocate. In 1979, Smith famously fired a warning shot from her shotgun to scare off Bureau of Indian Affairs employees who arrived to build a fence marking a redefined Hopi boundary. This is Katherine Smith.
Katherine Smith: “The U.S. government, they’re trying to get rid of the Navajo here, for took the land away from us. They loaded our sheep. They loaded our cattle. They loaded our horses. They just took it away from us. I used this gun on U.S., who’s trying to stole my land.”
Katherine Smith died March 29 at the age of at least 98, possibly over 100.